BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — A family from Minnesota dreamed of the day they would move to Oklahoma, but that move turned into a nightmare.
Even though she moved from Minneapolis to Broken Arrow several weeks ago, most rooms in Ya Vang's new home are bare.
"I'm very angry, I cannot sleep, I cannot work,” Ya told the 2News Oklahoma Problem Solvers.
Ya and her daughter moved to Oklahoma to escape the Minnesota winters, to be closer to their relatives, and to open a daycare.
"I'm good with kids, I love kids, I've been doing it for 17 years."
When making the move, Ya searched online for a moving company and came across First Rate Vanlines.
Over the phone, Ya says they quoted her $2,583 and emailed her a contract, which included a $1250 deposit.
But a truck with a different company name was used to load her things in the middle of August.
They were two weeks late, Ya tells us, and the cost of the move quickly jumped to $4700.
"I said I disagree, that's too much I cannot pay, but they said we already have your stuff in our truck, what do you want us to do now?"
Feeling cornered, Ya agreed to pay the extra $1720 by check, which was deposited.
But when the movers finally arrived at her Broken Arrow home on Labor Day, Ya says the movers demanded the final payment of just more than $1700 before even opening the truck doors.
Ya showed them a cashier's check for that amount, as was requested weeks earlier.
"They said we don't want cashier's check, we want only postal money orders. I said that's not what I was told."
And since it was Labor Day, Ya would have to wait until the next day to go to the post office to get those money orders.
But when the movers came back, Ya says she was told she now owed $800 more, for the overnight delay.
"Additional $800 overnight, that's ridiculous, that's not in the contract."
Ya refused to pay that $800, even though her life, she says, her livelihood, were seemingly held hostage in that truck.
Family photos, life insurance policies, items to open her daycare.
"What can I do now? I told my two pastors at church, and we pray that God will work in their hearts and will bring my stuff."
For now, Ya doesn't know where her belongings are. After she called the Problem Solvers, we contacted the moving company. We'll let you know what we find out.
In the meanwhile, a couple of red flags to watch out for when hiring movers. Be careful if they refuse to do an in-person, in-home cost estimate, and be wary of seemingly too good to be true low-ball estimates.
Here are a few additional things you should consider when searching for movers.
- Experts say first determine what you need. Are you leaving the house as-is for movers to pack and transfer, or do you just need help with a few heavy items?
- Shop around. Prices can vary widely. Try to get 3 to 5 estimates.
- Get everything in writing, and be sure to read the fine print about extra services and add-ons.
- Look beyond the price. The least expensive mover may end up being the best for you, but price shouldn't be the only criteria.
- Check reviews and with websites like the Better Business Bureau.
And those items are just a few of the things to be aware of.
Here are ten important questions to ask.
- How long has your company been in business?
- What kind of insurance do you offer?
- Do you have the required moving equipment to complete the job?
- Will you show me recommendations and provide references?
- What type of deposits do you require?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- What do you do to prevent property damage?
- How do you treat specialty items?
- What will happen if any of my items get broken or missing?
- How do you handle disputes and complaints?
Watch Vang's full story on 2 News at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
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